The Parish Catechism, Lesson 3: The Public Worship of Almighty God

Pope Benedict XVI celebrating Mass“For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles: and in every place there is sacrifice and there is offered to my name a clean oblation. For my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachias 1:11 )

20. What is worship?

Worship is the high honor and reverence we pay to God alone.

“For it is written: The Lord thy God shdlt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10)

21. Why must you worship God?

You must worship God because:

God is the highest and most excellent Being in existence. God is your first beginning and last end. You depend on God for everything.

“Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17)

22. Did God set aside one day in the week for His special worship?

God set aside one day, The Lord’s Day, for His special worship. The apostles and the early Christian Church chose Sunday to be the Lord’s Day because on Sunday Christ arose from the dead and on Sunday the Holy Ghost came down upon the apostles.

23. Do Non-Catholics have an obligation to worship God on the Lord’s Day?

All people are commanded by the Third Commandment to worship God on the Lord’s Day.

“Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.” (Exodus 20:8)

24. How do parents sin grievously in failing to keep holy the Lord’s Day?

Parents sin grievously on Sunday in two ways:

By not giving public worship to God, and thus giving their children bad example.

By permitting their children to neglect the worship of God.

25. What is the greatest act of public worship offered to God?

The Mass is the greatest and highest act of public worship given to Almighty God.

26. What is the Mass?

The Mass is the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. A sacrifice is the offering of a gift to Almighty God. The gift offered at Mass is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

27. Who said the first Mass?

Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, offered the first Mass at the Last Supper.

“And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke and gave to his disciples and said:Take ye and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, lie gave thanks and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

28. Did Jesus Christ give anyone the power to say Mass?

Jesus Christ gave the twelve apostles and their successors the power of offering Mass when He said, “Do this for a commemoration of me” (Luke 22: 19)

After Christ ascended into heaven we read in the Bible that the apostles and their successors said Mass and consecrated and ordained other bishops and priests to offer Mass. See Acts 2:42-56; 1 Corinthians 11:26; Acts 14:22.

29. What men today have the power to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass?

All Catholic bishops and priests have this power. This power has been handed down from Christ to the apostles to bishops and priests for nearly 2,000 years.

30. Where did your parish priest get the power to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass?

Your parish priest received the power to offer Holy Mass from Christ through the Sacrament of Holy Orders given by the bishop who ordained him.

31. Is Jesus Christ really present on the altar in the Catholic Church?

Jesus Christ is really present on the altar in the Catholic Church where He offers Himself to God the Father in the Sacrifice of the Mass. He also gives Himself to us in Holy Communion and remains in the tabernacle to receive those who visit Him.

32. In what part of the Mass is Christ offered in sacrifice?

Christ is offered in sacrifice at the double consecration of the Mass.

At the consecration the Priest bends over the altar and says over the bread and wine the words: “This is my body.” “This is my blood.” Then he raises (elevates) the Body and Blood of the Lord over his head as the altar boy rings the bell.

33. Is it necessary for a person who is receiving religious instructions to attend Mass every Sunday?

Any one who is serious about learning the Christian way of life should give public worship to God through the sacrifice of His Son at Mass at least every Sunday.

A priest usually will not admit a person into the Catholic Church unless he has been assisting at Mass every Sunday during the time of instructions.

34. Should Non-Catholic parents who have their children in a Catholic school attend Mass?

The principal purpose of the Catholic school system is the religious training of the child. Non-Catholics should cooperate with the Catholic school by attending Mass themselves and thus give their children good example.

Parents who do not assist at Mass undo much of the religious training the Catholic school tries to give their children.

35. On what other days must you attend Mass by Catholic Law? Besides Sunday you should attend Mass on the six Holy Days of Obligation.

The Holy Days of Obligation are:

• Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord / Christmas (25 December)

• Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 January)

• Feast of the Ascension (Thursday, the 40th day after Easter Sunday)

• Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August)

• Solemnity of All Saints (1 November)

• Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8 December)

36. What should you do when you attend Mass?

When you attend Mass:

Unite yourself with Christ Who is offering Himself on the altar for you.

Kneel, stand or sit when the other people do.

Do not receive Holy Communion if you are not yet a Catholic.

– from The Parish Catechism, by Father Farrell, 1954